Private House for Christmas in Africa

RosanneLuxury Safari, Safari Tips

Private House for Christmas in Africa: Leobo Dining Room

Gather your family in a private house for Christmas in Africa

Christmas is the best shot that most families have to spend quality time together. We think that booking a private house for Christmas in Africa gets you one step closer to the perfect family Christmas.

Gathering together in Africa gives you the chance for quality time in abundance, and a hundred extraordinary memories to boot. And the price per head for your own private house is not as expensive as you’d think, once you’ve added in Aunt Nora, Cousin Wilfred and the rest of the hangers-on.
Here are our favourite private houses for Christmas in Africa, from South Africa to Kenya and quite a few in between:

Leobo Private Reserve, South Africa

You’ve heard us chat about Leobo ad nauseum no doubt, but we can’t stop talking about because it’s absolutely the best private house for Christmas in Africa. We’ve been back thrice and we’ll head out again next year – it just gets better each time.
This huge 4 bed house comes with its own quad bikes, mountain bikes, horses, observatory with obligatory space suits, masseuse, rooftop jacuzzi, Big 5 game drives and more. And if your party is bigger than the bedrooms in the house, there are 9 chalets tucked away in walking distance at Leobo Lodge too.
Fly to Johannesburg and we’ll either fly you by helicopter to Leobo, or transfer you by tar road (approx 4 hrs).

Why Leobo Private Reserve is Best Private House for Christmas in Africa

There’s a croc called Stevie

It’s absolutely true, there is a little croc called Stevie living in the lake nearby and you can, if the temperature is right for him in December, play tug of war.
This is just one of the inspired (?) activities in which you and the kids can get involved at Leobo Private Reserve. Combine that with paintballing, quad biking, riding, hot-tubbing, biking, night-sky safari-ing and you’ve got yourself the recipe for a mind-blowing family Christmas.

Your choice of chef

Why not tell us who you want to cook your food and we’ll get them in for your family Christmas? But before you decide, consider that Leobo’s resident chef, Chris, has cooked some of the finest food I have had in my life. And I work in the luxury service industry so I’m regularly plied with cordon bleu (again, it’s a tough life).
Chris will feed you at whatever time you feel like, with whatever food you feel like, in as many sittings as you feel like.


Cottar’s Private Homestead, Kenya

Cottar’s Bush Villa sits above the savannah plains of the Mara, with a backdrop of the Olderikesi Hills. It comes with a dedicated staff of 8, including an expert private guide of course (Calvin himself is one of the best guides that Africa has ever known, so expect all his guides to be top-notch). There’s swimming, fishing and bush walks as well as day and night game drives, and a masseuse can be in attendance daily for those wishing to put their feet up for a while.
Fly to Nairobi and we’ll fly you in a little light aircraft to Cottar’s.

Why Cottar’s Bush Villa is the Best Private House for Christmas in Africa

Five sumptuous bedrooms

We know how hard it can be organising Christmas for extended family who can’t commit and then commit and then decide to un-commit again. The villa can sleep 10 adults but is sold on a 6 person basis, so you’ve got space for 4 more to join – or cancel, and rejoin again! And you can always overflow into the luxury camp if needs be, which is just as stylish and comfortable.

Your Maasai Mara

Calvin Cottar and his family live on one of the best wildife areas you can find, in our humble opinion. This is because it’s right by the Mara so you’ve got that incredible ecosystem on your doorstep, but it’s private so you are unlikely to see anything so unsavoury as other tourists, and you are unshackled by national reserve rules (off roading, driving at night etc).


Singita Serengeti House, Tanzania

This is a private house with all bases covered. It’s in the best area (Grumeti) of another of the best reserves in the world (Serengeti), and it has everything you could possibly wish for when planning your family Christmas: 4 huge bedrooms (infants go free), a troupe of attentive staff, a tennis court (of course), gym, spa, swimming pool..
Fly to Kilimanjaro and we’ll fly you in by light aircraft to the Singita airstrip.

Why Singita Serengeti House is the Best Private House for Christmas in Africa

Serious Serious Luxury

Lord, when Singita puts its mind to luxury it blows all contenders out of the bush. It is incredibly rare to find an authentic wildlife experience whilst staying somewhere that boasts a spa and kids club, of sorts (an incredibly exclusive kids club where your kids are the only members and they decide where their play and learning will take them). Singita manages to blend it all without cheapening the experience. Indeed, there is nothing cheap about Singita’s Serengeti House.

The Serengeti

The thing about Singita’s Serengeti House is that its location promises enthralling game-viewing throughout the year. Whilst the rains may have scattered plains game, your expert guides will find you the territorial animals who stay where they are no matter what the weather. Some of the best game-viewing I’ve had in my life took place in Grumeti in the rainy season.
Unlike much of the rest of the Serengeti, the game viewing is in open vehicles which I think is crucial for short people.


Vamizi Private Villas, Mozambique

An African Christmas doesn’t have to be dusty.
Consider opening your Christmas presents as your bucks fizz glass glints in the sun, as staff waft about with intriguing delicacies which excite the taste buds as only exotic food tasted on an exotic beach can.
Vamizi is reached by helicopter which sets the tone. Once there, you have a choice of villas to sleep 6 –
16, each with its own style and of course its own full complement of staff. Our favourite is the contemporary, beach-chic Casamina which has 6 bedrooms and bunkbeds too.
Fly to Pemba and we’ll charter you to Vamizi – or we can charter you from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

Why Vamizi Private Villa is the Best Private House for Christmas in Africa

Right on the beach

Your eyes will be drawn to that soporific vista from the moment they eagerly open in the morning until they gently close in the evening. The mesmerising Indian Ocean will be the backdrop to your Christmas photos which you’ll fawn over for years to come.
If you choose to do more than paddle on the shoreline, we can confidently say that there is some of the best diving possibly in the world right on your oceanic doorstep.

Castaway picnics

There are many memories to be made out on the deserted coast of Mozambique: castaway picnics; dhow cruises; sailing; kayaking; battling deep sea fish; scuba diving. And there’s Andbeyond’s WildChild program to give your young and young-at-heart some ideas too.
If you’re lucky you may not be alone enjoying the beaches: green sea turtles nest on these beaches and you may see them in December, hatch and scuttle off to the safety of the sea.


Ellerman House Villa, Cape Town, SA

This is a fantastic option for those wanting a bit of cosmopolitan life whilst being close to the wilds of South Africa. Beautiful Cape Edwardian Ellerman House overlooks the rocky Western Cape coastline from its vantage point on the slopes of Lions Head, in sheltered Bantry Bay.
Ellerman is in fact a boutique hotel but it has 2 villas which are entirely separate and each is totally private. Seriously suave Ellerman ‘Villa One’ (the straightforward name is in keeping with the minimalist design, we guess!) has 3 rooms with the option of adding 2 more to make it a 5 bed.
Fly to Cape Town and we’ll be there to pick you up and take you to Ellerman.

Why Ellerman Private Villa is the Best Private House for Christmas in Africa

Your own pantry

It’s the little things that make all the difference, and Ellerman’s Villa One comes with a fully stocked pantry in which you can snuffle, looking for goodies, any time of day or night. For those who don’t like to wait for each meal, like my mother, this is the detail which would just quietly ensure that her Christmas iss perfect.

Invite your friends

Ellerman House Villa One shouldn’t be kept to yourselves. Why not invite your Cape Town dwelling friends over for a swim and an al fresco dinner? When shipping magnates Sir John and Lady Ellerman were in residence, I imagine they often shared what is recognised as the best view ocean views in the country.


Waterberry Farmhouse, Victoria Falls

Now this is a bit of a secret, you won’t find this on many a website: a gorgeous, unfussy private house in Zambia, overlooking the Zambezi, with its own pool, jetty and boat and guide.
It’s a bright and airy house with a central living space crying out for a family celebration. When we visited we were a group of just 3 and did it no justice: we vowed to return with a full complement of family.
There are 4 bedrooms but nearby Waterberry Lodge’s 7 beautiful cottages can house your overflowing family members.
Fly to Livingstone (Zambia) or Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) and we’ll pick you up and drive you to Waterberry.

Why Waterberry Farmhouse is the Best Private House for Christmas in Africa

Lawn – pool – Zambezi

From your armchair you look out on to your pool, and then there’s the mighty Zambezi, and then there’s Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls National Park. It’s all right there, and you’re unlikely to see a soul out on the river, nor in the national park, as you enjoy it. Forget the business of the town hotels, stay here and ask your driver to take you in whenever the mood takes you.

Private boat

Christmas Day cruise, anyone? Why not travel by boat to take the family out to get stuck in to some of the local activities: bungee jumping; gorge swing, zip wire and canopy touring; croc and snake park visit; Botswana day trip; canoeing and white water rafting; game walk; horse riding; dinner on the Royal Livingstone Express; heli and microlight flights..


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About the Author
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Rose co-founded the Good Safari Guide and the Safari Awards in 2007, key independent media organisations which have been informing the trade reliably since their inception. Today, Rose lives in London with her son, Barnaby, from where she heads up the Abambo team. Rose’s passion is to share knowledge and hatch plans with travel-savvy people who love nature. Contact Rose at